I'm Haitian but grew up in an all-white family – I found my father at 30, we're so similar & I'm working his dream job | The Sun

AFTER years of countless searching and trial and error, a man was reconnected with his birth father 30 years to the day they parted.

As a black and Hispanic man who grew up in predominately Caucasian surroundings, a 23 & Me DNA test helped Joseph "Joey" Federico piece together his past.

Born on December 13, 1993, Joey spent the first few days of his life with two important people, his birth parents.

Three days later, he was adopted and placed in the arms of the two people he would call his mother and father for the next 30 years.

"My family raised me into the man I am today. They were able to provide for me. They gave me everything that I needed to become the man I am today, which is amazing," he told The U.S. Sun.

Now, Joey is alaw enforcement officer in New Jersey.

He has always placed a special emphasis on family and has lived in the same house his whole life.

Despite being a man of color with Caucasian parents, an adopted white brother, and living in a predominately white environment, he never felt different growing up.

He admitted that his parents were worried about him entering the school system, but Joey shared that he was lucky to be surrounded by great friends and receive a great education.

"I could be honest with you. I never really came in with any racism or anything like that," he said.

Most read in Lifestyle


Holly Willoughby SNUBBED again at NTAs as viewers vote for Alison Hammond


Cops share NEW details on 3 people they want to speak to in Woking 'murder' probe


I can't believe beautiful Sara is dead, says mum of girl murdered at home

boozy mistakes

Strictly star admits cheating on fiance with ‘soap stars and minor celebs’

Joey's parents raised him in a household with Italian and Irish influences and there were very few details he knew about his birth parents.

He knew they were Haitian and Ecuadorian, that his birth name was Sergio, and that his father was athletic.

To never forget his original identity, he tattoed the name on his chest.

He always wondered about his background but didn't start looking into it until he was 18 years old, after a traumatic experience.

His adoptive paternal grandfather was a big influence in his life and when he passed, it broke his family apart.

"That's when I started asking questions, like 'Hey, I wonder if I have an extended family' and things like that," he explained.

First, he wrote to the organization that placed him, Catholic Family Services, but was told that his file was closed and that his birth parents did not want to be found.

"It crushed me. Like damn, that sucks, you know?" he admitted.

When he was 23 years old, the law was changed that would allow him to dig deeper, but for a while, he put his ancestral search on hold.

He wasn't able to learn about his cultural identity until a lucky DNA match sped up his search.

The journey to find out more about himself started again in his late twenties when he did an Ancestry DNA test that came up without a match.

A friend told him to try 23 & Me and he did it, not expecting much.

About two months after spitting in a cup and shipping it off, Joey received a match that changed his life.

He connected with a woman named Missy Casimere, who turned out to be his aunt.

Joey sent her a message introducing himself and shared that he was on a mission to find his birth parents, and an hour later he received a response.

"We were able to get in contact and I called her and I gave her the rundown," Joey explained.

He re-introduced himself and shared that he was adopted and that his original name was Sergio.

"Naturally everything clicks. She's like, 'Wait, hold on a second. Let me sit down. You look just like my brother Sergio, and there's always been a rumor going around'," he said.

According to his aunt, there was always a rumor that Joey's father, Sergio, had a child when he was younger, but it never came out in the family, and instead was kept hush-hush.

Almost immediately, she called Sergio about the discovery, and within a few days, father and son spoke again.

"We had our first phone call and it felt like I knew him my whole life," Joey said happily.

Not only did he reconnect with his father, but he was introduced to many of his extended relatives, which he filmed and documented in a YouTube video.

He said: "Once I met my dad, it changed my perspective on life.

"I'd always felt like there was a part of me missing and wondered where I'd got certain personality traits from.

"Dad wanted to be a cop growing up and never went through with it, now I'm living his dream."

Sergio shared his own perspective from the moment he gave his son up to the moment he held him in his arms again after decades.

On a fall afternoon, while at work, his sister called him up with a serious tone and said it had to do with him and asked if he had a son.

"That’s when I had a sigh and thought about how he might be out there doing whatever. Come to find out a few days later I was able to speak to Joey that day," Sergio said.

Sergio revealed not only that it was a secret pregnancy between him, then 19, and Joey's birth mother, who was 17, but also the circumstances around his birth.

Sergio's family was struggling financially and bringing another mouth to feed into the house would have put them in deeper debt.

"Her and I kind of sat down together. You know, figuring out what we want to do. We definitely didn't want to do an abortion. So, we both came to a solution. We're going to church," he explained.

Catholic Family Services helped guide the teens and supported them through the process as they navigated the secret.

His mother regularly wore baggy clothes and the couple regularly dodged questions.

"Even though I didn't want it to happen, for myself and for herself to feel confident that Joey is going to be safe and be able to have a very good life, we made that decision together," he said.

Though their time together as father and son was short, Sergio recalls almost every detail.

“I did bond with him the three days we were together and I connected with him,” Sergio added.

He recounted how he gave him a bracelet on his small wrist and dressed him up in the finest newborn clothes he could afford.

Both his birth mom and Sergio watched as Joey was placed in the arms of his adoptive parents with tears in their eyes.

"They stayed in the hospital with me December 13, 14, 15 and the 16th was when they last held me. Thirty years later I meet my dad on December 16. Pretty crazy," Joey said happily.

"It was just 'Wow' to hold him 30 years to the day I last held him in my arms," Sergio shared.

Joey's paternal family flew in from all over the country to New Jersey to meet him and be present for the reunion.

"The thing that really got my heart is that the parents brought Joey's bracelet with his name on it that says Sergio," he divulged.

Joey asked about closed files from the adoption agency and Sergio was shocked to hear that the documents were sealed.

Two months after the birth of their son, Sergio says the pair split up.

Unbeknownst to him, his former girlfriend sealed the files.

His mother clearly did not want to be found, but after extensive research online, Joey did find her and showed up at her doorstep last fall.

Unfortunately, she was not receptive to the idea of welcoming her biological son back into her life and boldly asked him "How did you find me?"

When Sergio heard about this experience, he says: "My heart dropped.

"I don't know how mothers say something like that after carrying a child for nine months and having a bonded situation with your son, so it just caught me off guard.

"But at the same time, I know Joey had a great mom and a great father, and he didn't feel any grudges toward her."

The parents all have a unique relationship and respect for each other with plans to spend the upcoming Thanksgiving together.

Joey and Sergio have similar personalities and interests, from fitness to food and career goals.

"I went to the academy for police and didn’t make it, but he [Joey] followed in my footsteps. That tells you the situation with DNA. He basically completed what I couldn't do," Sergio admitted.

"Once I met my dad, it really changed my whole perspective on life. Oh, this is why I kind of act like this and that, you know? Joey said.

Read More on The Sun

Tributes to girl, 10, found dead at home as international hunt continues

X Factor star looks unrecognisable as Fearne Cotton marks his birthday

Sergio also has a 19-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son, but said he has something bigger to live for now that his family is whole.

"Best day of my life to have my son back. If I would change anything, I wouldn’t. Everything happens for a reason," Sergio declared.

Source: Read Full Article